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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Trade deal hopes lifts Wall Street to fresh highs

Broader markets closed the Thursday, Dec. 19, session at record highs following comments made by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicating that an initial U.S.-China trade deal would be signed in early January 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.49% to 28,376.96, and the S&P 500 noted a 0.45% increase to close at 3,205.37.

Oil and gas companies as well as midstream and pipeline partnerships exited the Dec. 19 session on lower ground, with the S&P 500 Energy Sector shedding 0.06% to 448.55 and the Alerian MLP Index settling at 217.56, down 0.43%.

Notable movers included EQT Corp., which rose 5.23% on near-average volume to $10.67. National Oilwell Varco Inc. added 2.66% in light trading to close at $24.34. Williams Cos. Inc. noted a 1.82% increase in heavy trading to exit at $23.50.

Apergy Corp. noted a 5.97% increase on more than triple average volume to $32.50 following an announcement that it will merge with the upstream energy business of specialty chemical company Ecolab Inc. subsidiary Nalco Champion LLC.

Parex Resources Inc. closed 0.74% higher on almost twice the average volume on the Toronto Stock Exchange to C$23.04 after the company received approval to start its normal course issuer bid.

On the other hand, Hess Corp. saw a 2.11% decrease on average volume to settle at $63.69.

Among midstream and pipeline partnerships, Shell Midstream Partners LP tumbled by 2.03% in active trading to $19.82. DCP Midstream LP fell 1.79% on near-average volume to settle at $24.76. NuStar Energy LP posted a 1.66% decrease in brisk trading to $26.02. Conversely, Antero Midstream Corp. added 2.25% on above-average volume to exit the Dec. 19 session at $6.82.

Electric and diversified utilities slipped a bit, with the S&P 500 Utilities Sector exiting the session at 325.71, down 0.06%.

Losses were noted at PG&E Corp. which fell 3.45% on below-average volume to $10.92. The company's CEO testified before a U.S. Senate committee looking into threats caused by wildfires. Edison International posted a 1.14% decline in light trading to $73.42. California regulators approved 2020 ratemaking cost of capital parameters for the state's largest energy utilities, keeping returns on equity unchanged rather than increasing them to account for wildfire equity risk premiums requested by some utilities.

Also, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. shed 1.01% on above-average volume to $58.65. On the other hand, AES Corp. gained 1.98% on above-average volume to close at $19.55.

Exelon Corp. nudged lower by 0.86% on above-average volume to exit the session at $44.98. Subsidiary Atlantic City Electric Co. submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to expand electric vehicle transportation and charging programs in southern New Jersey.

Solar companies closed the session in different directions. Automobile manufacturer Tesla Inc. saw a 2.77% increase on twice the average volume to $404.04. First Solar Inc. added 1.03% on lower-than-average volume to $57.07, while SunPower Corp. shares declined by 3.27% in near-average trading to settle at $7.69.

Mixed to ultimately lower moves were seen across coal companies. Peabody Energy Corp. fell by 5.80% on nearly double average volume to $9.09. Arch Coal Inc. noted a 2.57% decrease in near-average trading to $73.11. Alliance Resource Partners LP posted a 1.61% decline on below-average volume to $10.98, while CNX Resources Corp. shares were up 4.96% in average trading to close at $8.88.

Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.